Sunday, July 31, 2005

burger me 2005

Inspired by a great love of burgers, an entry on Gary Lau's LJ and an article in the latest GQ on the '20 best burgers in the States', i too have started and finished phase 1 of tasting burgers from around adelaide.

I go for plain burgers, no beetroot, pickles, eggs, pineapple and i usually ditch 50% of the lettuce and tomato. Because i'm hopeless approxiamating weight,(but really good with distances), when i talk about patty size, it'll be based on macdonald's quater pounders, but use it as relative basis between burgers.

Oxford hotel
Burger and beer
A plain meat patty, which means that it has a tendency to break apart because it hasn't got a binding agent (egg is usually). Or sometimes it means that its really fresh. This was cooked medium rare and was really drippy. I was a bit drunk when i ate this so i don't remember much - not sure if it had onion or bacon, or even cheese.
It was on a plain bread roll and was pretty large at 3 1/4 pounders. The lettuce was shredded and the tomato sliced but they were ditched because they were still cold and wet. The becks was just drinkable.
It was served whole.
The chips were ok.

Saturday-Tuesdy were burger free.

My Place
Burger and ginger ale
I was home alone and whilst i like cooking for 2, cooking for one is pretty lame. My own burgers are usually really good but this was a schamoozle. Firstly i had accidently bought lean burgers which had no flavour and kept sticking to my non-stick pan, i burnt the bacon and overtoasted the buns. the onions were nice and you can't go wrong with cheese singles (well except for the lack of flavour). Finally i added too much bbq sauce trying to revive the dry bacon and burger.

Brighton Esplanade
Burger and Beer
To do some celebrating I took Em to the beach for dinner. This was smaller, about 2 1/4 pounders, on a normal bread roll. Again a plain patty but it held together really well, but lacked any flavour. It was really bland. The cheese though was nice. The side of chips was minimal.

The Criterion
Burger and Beer
A worker's pub that is going to be demolished soon to make way for a atrium for a highrise office building.. One of the few places that didn't have a 'burger and beer' meal. Of course this means that i get to pick the beer, instead of have to drink something crap, looking at you Tooheys Dry. This was served whole and it was great. A nice weighty patty, that was sesoned with a decent amount of parsely. It was cooked a bit dry but at least it didn't crumble. It didn't seem to have mayo, a condiment i'm not too keen on, espeically on burgers. Mayonnaise is for chicken/lettuce/salad, on meat its just a cover for cooks that let their food dry out on the grill. -Sigh-
This hung together really well, nothing fancy but an honest solid burger. Chips were ok, just ok. Washed down with a Coopers Pale it will be a pity when they rip the criterion down.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Top 7 to 10

Why am i not surprised about Vizard? He stole his shtick from Letterman, of course he's going to rip off shareholders.

His most famous characters were
The faquari rug dealer - which is esssentially blackface racism
The gay flight attendant - which played on stereotypes
Caine from Kung Fu - which was more rascist crap where he couldn't keep a straight face.


though he did make fun of Hinch so he's not all bad

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Australian Comic Book Week

I've been quiet about the concept of "Australian Comic Book Week", mainly because I don’t want to be one of those assholes that pisses on an idea without being constructive. Its annoying when problems are highlighted without solutions. Its easy to say what's wrong with something and its hard to fix problems. Easy is bullshit.

So what are my problems with the proposed 'Australian Comic Book Week'? Well, the plan from what I can gather boils down to release a comic in December. Since I’m an Australian comic junkie that buys pretty much everything local I can get my hands on, I want comics released every month. That’s a small self-centred point. In the current environment, creators wait till the various Supanovas (Sydney more so that Brisbane) to release their gear and practically and in the short term, that's a smart move. Creators get more money from books sold in Conventions (100% of cover) than in shops (50% of cover) plus there's heaps of people looking to buy. But it also means that comics come out in drips and drabs, if a comic is released annually, ie at every Supanova, there's a good chance customers/readers will lose interest. However if ACBW takes off then there will be 3 times a year books may get released, which is better than 2.

Having a lot of books released at once has its benefits; it shows people that there is a large variety of work available – presenting a lot of different styles and genres. It shows that Australian comics is not a genre where if they don't like one they won't like any. Plus an event like this hopefully will get people creating; when you are working to a deadline and in a group situation there is less chance of saying "fuck this - I'm playing xbox". There are other people that can offer support – it becomes fun, which is one of the few stated objectives of the event.

Lastly there is the opportunity of getting media attention.

Again, the opportunity for promotion is there, it would be great if the media got interested but what's the hook? Even more simply, what's the hook for non-creators to get involved, if not involved, at least interested?

I think a week centred around Australian Comic Books is great, but looking at what other industries do, the focus is wrong. The Orange Growers Association doesn't have "Sell an orange" campaign during Orange Week, they have "Buy an Orange" campaign. The Meat Industry spends its promotional resources getting people to buy meat, its spends less money getting farmers to produce livestock.

A problem with "Release a comic" is that the majority of shop owners may say "nah, not interested I still have a stack of Australian comics from 2 years ago" or "local stuff never sells" so if there is any publicity for the event and people do get interested they either won't be able to find Australian comics or they'll find old stuff.

Creating a demand is probably more important than creating a supply. With too much demand, you get sell outs and retailers and creators are happy (empty handed customers won't be happy but hopefully they'll be back). Over supply means that retailers get stuck with product they can't sell and get turned off local gear, just like what happened in the early 90s.

I think it should be “Buy an Australian Comic”, through it to the wider community. Creators still get involved because they have to create the books in the first place. With the wider focus though, the community can get involved (not just the creator community).

Problem with "Buy an Australian Comic", however, is why should I?
Back to the Orange and Meat example, the various industries explain that Oranges and Meat make you healthier, they improve people's lives and that’s why you should buy them. What does an Australian Comic do for me? How will it improve my life? If answers can be found to these questions; then "buy an Australian comic" is a goer. It has to be on some nationalistic ground. The only philanthropic promotional event I can think of that is of a similar nature (besides the generic Buy Australian) is Hole-Proofs campaign - "buy a pair of socks and help a sheep farmer" of the mid to late 80s when there was an oversupply of wool. It’s a hard road to travel because the benefits to the community are intangible, Australian Comics won’t make consumers richer, healthier or sexier.

If you had the time and money, yes you could have a campaign that comics make you sexy; (if they can make ugg boots sexy you can make anything sexy). But Time and Money is the ball breaker.

Otherwise, if tugging at heart strings or boosting egos isn't the way, then maybe bribery may work.
How will buying an Australian Comic make my life better? Well if you buy an Australian Comic during December you can enter a raffle and win stuff. Winning stuff makes life better. Every comic shop that sells local comics would provide entry forms with purchases, that get filled out with and sent to an address. A winner is picked and they get stuff. What stuff? I dunno - artists can donate art, people can donate money. That’s the relatively easy bit; getting shops involved, coming up with safeguards and the whole raffle laws are the main issues. But the benefits are, shops will see there is a demand and make money, readers might find something they like and buy more and creators may make some money too.

There’s about 30 comic shops in Australia, and if they average 300 regular customers and if only 50% enter to get an original Ashley Wood painting or their likeness in an Eddie Campbell comic or the chance to write a Da ‘n Dill strip or shit even $250 bucks cash, that’s about 5000 sales right there.*

If the "buy an Australian comic" isn't liked, then i'd probably suggest that "Release an Australian comic" needs to be done in conjunction with something else, like a gallery exhibition. When organised properly it appears these things go well. Creators can sell their comics there, direct to the public - getting a bigger cut of the pie and its something more interesting for the media to hook in to and write about.

I think having a week glorifying the coolness of Australian Comics is well deserved but the proposed plan lacks a goal, besides release a comic and have fun but then what?

But I’m willing to help out with whatever I can with whatever happens.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sighting - the grit

While I wasn't surprised, since I remember Trudy posting about their foray into TV, it was still really cool to see Platinum Grit pop up during 2 segments of the Late Show.

And ten years on tht D-Gen stuff is still awesomely funny and for one embarrassing moment made me want to find out whatever happened to my Frente, Things of stone and wood, Sharp and RatCat albums.

Don't you go now!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

win 1000 beers

Came across while having a very nice burger and beer at a local pub.

For Adelaide people - The Grace Emily, where the Adelaide Comic Community has its monthly drinks on the first saturday of every month, is having an art compeition. For $10 you get a beer and a canvas and the idea is you do a portrait of some one related to the Grace Emily (I'm not sure what the means).

The prize is 1000 beers.

So I'm hoping come August 6th, all the adelaide comic artists will crowd the front bar drawing the poor bored looking lanky bloke who has to open the bar early for us.

And if you win, it'll be your shout.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Frank Miller made me eat boogers

"Alba's ass is great"
"her tits are better"
"Nah man, its her ass"
"no her boobs are awseome"
"her ass is awesome!"

Monday, July 18, 2005

San Diego, San De-a-go, San Deeeee-ahh-go

I've been busy working and planning a holiday to do much blogging but here's this
Christian, Scott, Doug and friend at San Deigo - sort of, if you squint, and are kind of hazy on what they look like

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ginger Smegged

Pinched from Comic Lifestyle

A conversation about comic strips in newspapers.

Sparked by Ginger Meggs being discontinued in one of the East Coast papers (though i think its been reinstated).

Off the bat, from the aussie strips i've seen in the local paper (the Advertiser) they leave a lot to be desired, however it must be said that the imported strips are pretty crap too. So part of me thinks well if newspapers are offering crappy strips they may as well replace them with crosswords and advertising.

On the other hand, comics have too much potential to be dustbined so newspapers can sell me insurance and hyponotise me with number games.

The state of comic strips in the Advertiser/Sunday Mail feels like they're trying to please everyone. For example you have the kiddie merchandising stuff like Scooby Doo and Lilo and Stitch, more 'adulty' fare like the Sev Trek, Sherman's Lagoon, The Politician and then old 'favourites' like Ginger Meggs, Peanuts and the Phantom. Its all so wishywashy i don't think anyone is happy with the page as a whole.
And whilst i enjoy peanuts and calvin and hobbes like everyone else, similarly I enjoy the simpsons and seinfeld, but i don't like the idea of Simpsons and Seinfeld being played every night.

I'd like to see something new.

Quality aside, the important part of the transcript is the point about Australian comics being a cultural artifact and the need for setting minimums. Like films, television and radio, the Australian government sets mimumums (tv and radio) or invests money/offers subsidies (film) to stop imported entertainment smothering the local culture. I'm a firm believer that their should be tax incentives for investing in comic production (like in film) and newspapers should have a minimum number of locally produced strips. Local comic strips would allow local voices to have a large audience and just like how funding improved our film making capabilities, it would serve as a great training ground for aspiring artists.

France has minimum requirements in its radio, films and television and they have a vibrant culture. I'd be interested if the government supports comics as well.

It would be great if the Australian Black and White Cartoonist Association actually pursued this but as a lobby group i think they wouldn't have the weight to carry it off.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

hang mah head in shame

Batman Begins may be better made and closer to its comic book origins but i honestly enjoyed Fantastic Four more.

Like comparing Manhattan and Dude where's my car. I'm more likely to watch 'Dude' on a rainy afternoon.

Superhero movies are the musicals of the new millenium; garish costumes, weak plots, bland characters and instead of song and dance its 'FIGHTS'.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Black is the new manga

Pinched from the Pulp Faction boards, there's an Australian magazine actually interested in comics. Even better - local comics, that don't have movies tied to them.

If you think your comic would appeal to people who read Fiend, then send them a copy. They might review it.

For more details see the above Pulp Faction post.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The phantom art

An article about an artist who uses and is inspired by comics in her work.

I'm not really sure how i feel about - it would be nice if the original stuff was considered to be 'art' as well.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Nick, Sarah, Lisa, Dan, Katie, Bugga, Daniel, Adam - i hope you guys are ok. Please stay safe.
We'll try and catch up next month.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Mr and Mrs not so Shit

Other's may disagree but i didn't think it was too bad.

I don't mind mindless action films as long as they aren't trying to 'tell me something' in some ham fisted way. So Van Damme breaking heads, Jackie Chan protecting the girl is fine by me. Steven Seagal protecting the environment can fuck the fuck off.

Also me and emma have pretty much all of Pitt's films at home. He's an incredibly charasmatic actor and while he overacted in The Mexican and underacted in Seven Years in Tibet, he usually does a really good job. and this will make me sound even gayer but Jolie doesn't do much for me, yes she is aesthetically pleasing to the eye but i don' go gaga at the very thought of her.

The problem when you have 2 big sexy stars is the whole thing becomes a marquee film, its not about the story or the charcters its about these two sexy people in the same film (see The Mexican, see the Specialist). Consequently, they have to have sex and live happily ever after. Which is good for a romantic comedy, it sucks when its about to assasins trying to kill each other.

What had my interest before i saw the movie was the idea of assassin husband and wife working against each other. The scene at the dinner table is one of the more interesting in the film, its kind of tense but very funny. I was also interested when i learnt that the director was inspired by Hong Kong movie gunplay (see John Woo and Tsui Hark). But i've never seen what Woo did in The Killer matched in Hollywood (not even by woo sadly - though i, robot got close). Hollywood is obsessed with size, so its bigger explosions and gorier exits wounds. Its not the ballet of Chow Yun fat pointing his 45 and killing people like he was weilding the handgun of god. In Mr and mrs Smith the gun play was dull and mechanical.

On whole the movie is disappointing in that there was so much potential but it got wasted by being cute for the sake of it. That said its still better than watching segal saving King Emporer penguins from randy norwegians.

A dvd film at the least.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Star Wars: Revenge of the shit

Saw this only a couple weeks back and it was shit. Not as shit as the the last one (i'm refering to the release date of the films not their story chronology) but more shit that the star wars, empire, jedi and phantom. Star Wars became shit for me when i saw the reissues at the cinema, i realised that the acting was shit, the dialogue was shit and the direction was bland shit.

The reason that attack of the clones and revenge of the sith are so shit is because they are overly complicated for their own good.
The plotline of Star Wars was "lets get from here to there, whoop now we have to escape the evil space castle and finally lets go blow evil space castle up!". Empire was even simpler; "lets get out of here, oh no we're captured! oh wow the evil dude is your dad". Return was "lets get you out of here and blow up the evil space castle and hey your dad wasn't a bad bloke in the end"

Phantom Menace, i didn't mind, for a kids film its quite enjoyable. I have the same disdain for JarJarBinks as I do Oompahloompahs, ie none at all. But as soon as Lucas tries to establish a complex plot - the whole thing turns to shit. I realise that i'm not the smartest man but i have no idea what the hell is going in the last 2 films. Why is Palpatine building a clone army to destroy his allies, the Trade Federation? To create a situation so he'd become Emperor? He's smart enough to get a woman pregnant with his mind, a woman who will bear the greatest jedi ever and become apart of events which will see him become a jedi, I'd think he could take some action which wouldn't see his allies killed.

God i feel stupider by the word.

Adding to the stupyfing aspect of it all; the initial trilogy had an exciting pace, Lucas obviously drew from the serials of the 30s and 40s, where there was some danger every 10 minutes that the heroes would have to get out of- cliffhangers. Star Wars had the same thing, a little cliff hanger spaced every 10 minutes or so. The best or genius thing was that the cliff hangers kept the movie going. Revenge of the Sith, especially the first 30 minutes has cliffhanger after cliff hanger that don't move the plot what so ever(i'm sure there's a better word for it but see my previous paragrph, i'm stupid now).

We're in a space battle!
Robot's are eating my ship!
I'll save you - now i'm in trouble!
I'm doomed!
I'm saved!
There's droids!
Driods are gone!
The lift's not working, hurry before something happens
The lift is working!
More droids!
Stop the lift from working!
Oi robot lets fight!
Let's get out of here!
The lift not working, hurry before something happens
The lift is working!
More droids!
Stop the lift from working!
Lets go back to where we were!
We are going to blow!
Whew, landed!

Plus with Industriual Light and Magics digital jizz flying at your face every 2 seconds covering the whole screen, its all a bit too much for this old fart.

In essence; Revenge of the Shit; not the shittest film in the series but the second shittest. The acting is shittest out of all the movies. The effects aren't shit but at times there so much of digital shit it shits you off. The dialogue is shit and stilted. The action scenes are the least shitty thing in the film and the best of its type in the whole series.

In the end, as i've said before, it took 6 films for darth to restore order to the force by throwing the evil prick into a well to save his son. Thats a bit shit.

Monday, July 04, 2005

24; 7am-8am

I received a preview dvd of the new 24 series and had a watch. Its not bad.
i'm a fan of the series. I thought last year's conclusion, with Jack breaking down, was a great glimpse at a fully rounded 'action' hero.

This season starts off alright; it already has heavy doses of coincidence but that's what suspension of disbelief is for. I'm going to be keeping an eye on my theory that women in this series either end up dead or betraying Jack. It starts off slow but picks up pace in the last 15 minutes were Jack reveals his true colours as a fascist, but not an ordinary fascist, but a fascist for good (kind of like Warren Ellis's Authority).

The show is full of actors that elicit "where is she from?" or "what was he in again?" but in the end they'll probably end up dead so it doesn't matter.

So far so good, for me 24 is like Survivor or Amazing Race, every year its pretty much the same but with some many twists and turns i can't help but watch it. i never grew bored with it like I have done with Lost or Desperate Housewives (i live with girl so gimme a break).

The whole preview a series on a freebie dvd is pretty cool, I think they did it in the States with a couple of series (24 and House) distributed by newspaper. 24 was bundled in with Independent Review (an adelaide weekly paper who i don't think is owned by either fairax or murdoch). Getting a full episode is pretty cool (although its only half the season premiere), while Emma got Grey's Anatomy on Dvd but it was only 3 minutes long which is a lame (but makes a cool coffee caoster).

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sin City - review

Last week, last wednesday i was lucky to go to a preview screening of Sin City. The show was put on by Pulp Fiction Comics and the cinema was packed. My shirt was pink and I sat with Emma. The crowd bristled with anticipation, Em asked me what the film was about. "Hot ladies and hot lead", "Ah a boy's film"
Lights Out, pop corn munched, drink slurped.

I was there because i won a competition through Pulp Fiction Comics, as the movie started i felt lucky. It started with a short story from one of the Sin City oneshots. In my uni days i attempted to shoot this very same story for my Media Production class but i couldn't convince anyone to be rained on for a day.

The movie hangs together well and visually the movie is excellent. However, as I sat there at the Pulp Fiction Comics screening i got really annoyed with the narration. The exposition due to the episodic nature of the print version is understandable, with chapters released every month a line like "the pills make the pain go away" is bearable. In the movie, having Marv say every 53 seconds that Goldie's killers are going to pay is fucking annoying. Using the panels as a basis of the cinematography is fine, but the script in the caption boxes and speech balloons needs a bit of editting before having actors say it outloud.

The spectre of George Lucas hovers over this film as well, i wasn't that amazed to read some of the actors never actually did their scenes in the same room. No wonder the acting was flat, I wonder if Rodriguez was in the same room as the actors did their scenes. Mickey Rourke stood out and Brittany Murphy had a bit of life, but Willis just went through the motions and the rest were boring and seemed lost.

I never remembered the comic as particularly humourous and most of the time the violence was not played for laughs. But everyone in the cinema laughed, including me, when every Rodriguez showed us his really hates penises but part of me just thought is this the "bam, zap, pow" of the 21st century. Why couldn't it be played straight like the comic? I always pictured the violence in Sin City as 'kewl' like Chow Yun Fat shooting away with both guns blazing not the parody of a Peter Sellers fight.

However, in terms of being technically innovative and creating an environment that's true to the comic, Sin City succeeds. I think it will be one of those films that grow on me and while i recommend it, it does have its frustrating weaknesses.